How would you like a 90 percent eStatement adoption rate? Consider making eStatements the default statement delivery option for online banking users.
Although online banking usage continues to rise, eStatement adoption figures are still well below the 30 percent mark at most credit unions, even among online banking users. Many members simply will not take the initiative to sign up for electronic statements on their own, despite various promotions. But members' increased familiarity with online financial services and receipt of electronic statements from other billers offers a window of opportunity for credit unions to shift the way consumers manage their accounts.
Opting Out Rather Than Opting In - One Way to Generate Large Increases
One method that is generating attention among financial institutions is to make eStatements the default delivery option for particular member segments, and require them to make a specific request to receive paper statements. Credit unions are using one or a combination of the following approaches depending on their member characteristics and objectives. These strategies include:
- Requiring eStatements for new online banking users
- Requiring eStatements for all new members
- Converting existing online banking users to eStatements
- Creating new account types that require eStatement usage (such as e-accounts)
Many online banking users frequently check their account online. While they do not rely on their monthly statement, they have not been motivated to sign up for an electronic statement. These members are an ideal segment for conversion to eStatements. Assuming a standard cost per statement of $1 per member, significant savings can be realized by converting even half of the credit union's online banking users over to eStatements.
Member Survey Reveals Favorable Reactions
A recent Callahan Survey Consortium survey regarding eStatements investigated credit union members' reaction to this strategy. Online members who did not use eStatements were presented with the concept statement below regarding making electronic delivery the default option for statement delivery:
Some financial institutions are making online statements with e-mail notifications the standard delivery method for their monthly account statements, in order to provide convenient access for all account information online. Paper statements are still available but optional. How favorable would you be?
The initial reaction was fairly positive - close to half of the online members (44%) would be at least somewhat favorable. A significant proportion (31%) are neutral, allowing for the potential to increase their favorability to this practice via communications highlighting the benefits. While there is still a segment (22%) that is unfavorable, providing them with a mechanism for requesting paper can help minimize negative reactions.
Carefully Communicate Conversion Program to Members
As with any change, there are risks associated with migrating existing members to eStatements. However, credit unions can mitigate these risks through a well-planned implementation strategy and a strong communications program. Converting active online banking users who already rely less on a paper statement will help minimize objections. Additionally, well in advance of any conversion, it is critical to provide detailed communications that answer member questions regarding storage, access options, and safety. Allowing some paper/electronic statement overlap can help acquaint members with the new process and reduce concerns.